(The scene: Obama’s campaign headquarters in Washington; a meeting with his advisors).
“Well, shall we get started? Right. Now, as you all know, I made the decision, which I announced in Philadelphia, to combat Republican dirty tricks by using overwhelming force. As you’ll recall, I said, ‘If they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun.’ Is there anybody here who thinks that the circulation of the rumor about there being a tape showing my wife denouncing whitey does not constitute pulling a knife?”
A timid hand floated uncertainly into the air, like a party balloon that had lost most of its helium. A young staffer coughed nervously, and ventured to speak. “Sir, that wasn’t really a Republican knife; the rumor was started by Larry Johnson, a Hillary supporter, and most Republicans – including conservative bloggers – voiced skepticism about the story from the beginning.”
Campaign manager David Plouffe (demonstrating the steely-eyed look of indomitable will that he had cultivated since childhood, to compensate for having been born with the kind of name that usually invites ridicule on the playground) frowned at the young staffer.
“Withers…isn’t that the name?”
Young Withers retreated as far as he could into his chair without actually hiding under the cushion. “Y-y-yes, sir.”
“Withers, who would now benefit from this rumor?”
“Well, sir, since Mrs. Clinton’s out of the race ( a distant flash of lightning, and the far-away rumble of thunder), I suppose the Republicans would.”
“Then it’s a Republican knife, isn’t it, Withers?”
“But, sir, the knife’s been planted, so to speak.”
Plouffe didn’t get to the top of the monkey bars on the playground by bandying words with his opponents. He signaled to two Nation of Islam bodyguards, who had been standing silently by the door. “Gentleman, kindly take Mr. Withers down to the garage…to the bus.”
Young Withers’ face turned ashen as the burly guards each grabbed an arm and lifted him from his chair; he screamed, in a voice choked with fear. “No! N-o-o-o! Not under the bus! Please don’t throw me under the bus!!!”
The guards carried Withers away, his feet churning the air furiously, as if he were desperately trying to maintain a lead in the Tour de France; his pleas faded away into incoherent gibbering.
Plouffe turned to Obama. “You were saying, sir?”
“Er, yes. Yes. I said that we now need to bring out the guns. Let’s have a look at them, Torelli.”
A stocky, bald man with a pug nose, clad in a baggy suit – a sign of his ascent from the humble ranks of his brother-stevedores to a middling position in the longshoremen’s union - walked over to the table carrying a box; he upturned it, and the contents clattered onto the table. The inventory was quickly taken: (1) an antique flintlock musket of the kind favored by Pathan tribesmen in the first Anglo-Afghan War; (2) a 16th century arquebus; (3) a tin-pistol; and (4) a one-gallon, super-soaker squirt gun (sans water tank).
“Wow!”, Obama said, innocently marveling at the weaponry. “This is pretty formidable!” He picked up the tin pistol, plugged an ear against the anticipated report with one index finger, pulled the trigger with the other index finger, and stared, open-mouthed, when a little flag popped out of the barrel, displaying the word, “Bang!”.
Plouffe scowled at the arsenal. “This is it? This is all we’ve got?”
Torelli nervously ran his finger around the inside of his shirt collar. “Yeh, boss. But yez have to remember: we Democrats been pushin’ gun control for years.”
Plouffe pounded the table with his fist. “We sure have, but for John Q. Public, not for us!” The room grew so silent, you could hear a pin drop – or rather, the rusty trigger of the musket, which is what happened when Plouffe picked the gun up and the trigger fell off, hitting the table with a hollow *clink!*
The campaign manager sighed. “Senator”, he said. “I regret to say that we may be forced to take the high road.”